Monday, June 24, 2013

Dreamland of the Sleeping Bears - Leelanau

Looking out from the Sleeping Bear Dunes to North Bar Lake and Lake Michigan.
Well, I am late posting again.  At least this time I have a better excuse than just, "I was really busy".  In fact, it was sort of the opposite, I was on vacation.  I was away for a week in Good Morning America's "Most Beautiful Place in America", the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan.  But I was vacationing in and marveling at the beauty of the Leelanau for many years before Good Morning America discovered it, and hopefully, I'll continue to travel there for many years to come.  It's become my annual dose of life medicine -- I sometimes feel like I need to go there in order to keep breathing sanely for another year to come.

Today, I thought I would share some photos from my vacation.  We stayed in Glen Arbor, which is a small town settled between Lake Michigan and Big Glen Lake and Little Glen Lake, as well as being adjacent to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  I hope these photos give you some inkling of the peace and amazing beauty of this place.

Views from the Sleeping Bear Dunes 

Looking out from the Sleeping Bear Dunes to Big and Little Glen Lakes

Another view of the Glen Lakes

Looking out over the dunes to Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands

Another view from the top of the dunes out over Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands

A large sand dune sloping down to the Lake Michigan shore.

Looking down at Lake Michigan from the top of a dune.

A view out over the dunes with Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands in the background.
Another view out over the Sleeping Bear dunes to the lake and islands.

Sandy dunes and deep blue Lake Michigan.

Another view down to the shore from the top of a tall dune.

 At Willow Vineyard, Near Sutton's Bay

Looking out over the vineyard to Lake Michigan.

My family - Tony, Dan, Matt, Betsy and me - at Willow Vineyard.

Scenes at North Bar Lake and Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan Shore adjacent to North Bar Lake.

The rivulet that connects North Bar Lake to Lake Michigan

A Walk in the Leelanau Woods on a Cloudy Summer Morning

The forest

Ferns cover the forest floor.

Unusual yellow flower.

White Birch

Pretty pink flower.

Cool 'shroom

A little wild daisy.

Berry blossoms.

Dew on the Cottonwood leaves.

Someday, these blossoms will be yummy berries -- wild raspberries, I think.
Can't believe I have to wait a year before I find myself in the Leelanau again. (Heavy sigh.)

As far as my creative efforts ... while I was away, I worked on some new "pink" pieces for the Lure for the Cure event, where I will have a booth on July 14, and I picked up some lovely stones on the Lake Michigan shore that I plan to use in a new Lake Michigan jewelry collection I am designing.  But more on these topics in later posts ...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Art Is In Market - A New Home for Gossamer Tangles

As I've mentioned briefly in a few of my earlier posts, beginning July 1, 2013, Gossamer Tangles will be making a home at Art Is In Market, at Laurel Park Place Mall in Livonia, Michigan.  I am VERY excited about this ... and a bit nervous too, I'll admit.  This will be something completely new for me, as I have previously sold my jewelry and accessories only through my internet shops on Etsy and Art Fire, or at the occasional art fair, like the Berkley Art Bash last weekend.

Art Is In Market is a unique concept -- a place where local Michigan artists can display and sell their work, collaborate with each other, and interact with shoppers and browsers.  The Michigan artists who display and sell their creations there, also work in the store.  There are also Art Is In Market shops at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi and The Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township.

Photo of Customer Appreciation Night at Art Is In Market, Laurel Park Place
Here's what the Art-Is-In-Market website says about the store:

Art Is In Market is more than an art gallery, more than a "Michigan Store", and far more than a gift shop.  Imagine your favorite art show that comes along only once a year.  Now imagine that show being open all year long!   Founded in 2005 with the idea of giving Michigan Artists a new type of opportunity to display their work, it has been hailed a success by many, including Channel 4 News Best Art Gallery of 2012.
From the moment you step into any one of the three stores you will be greeted by the Artists themselves.  Because you will always be talking to one of the Artists, a unique phenomena will be discovered along the way...a free flowing exchange of ideas. Often customers and artists walk away from a visit with newfound ideas, inspiration and perhaps even a new direction for their art. As a result, Art Is In Market is a constantly changing and evolving store, and is never quite the same, even from day-to-day.  
With art ranging from jewelry, clothing, photography, books, and Detroit sports, to pottery, painting and perhaps even a few things that can't be defined, that one-of-a-kind gift for every person, or occasion can nearly always be found.
Debbie La Pratt is the creator and current President of Art Is In Market.  She describes how the stores came into being:
I have been an artist for over 35 years, often my Holiday Season was spend traveling to art shows every weekend. My self like many Artists traveled around the state, often working at two or more art shows a weekend. Showcasing my art and craft around the state, but with a high price, lots of time setting up tearing down, traveling. Also this time took me away from my family and friends. Then over 7 years ago I was beginning to plan for my Holiday Season, and was wondering what shows I was going to do. As I walking through a local mall I had a thought... What if I could create a store for all my artists friends for a couple of months." I had contacted the mall to explore my thought. To my surprise they loved the idea and offered a temporary space for 2 months. From there it was easy, I called all my artists friends and invited them to end their holiday travel and try something brand new, display your work for 2 months, and work a little bit to sell everyone's work. As customers came into the gallery, we always informed them we where going to close in January, to my surprise we had an overwhelming response from them always telling us 'No you can't. We love this store. Every time we walk in we see something new and different!' As a result I renewed my contract for 3 months, then another 3 months. Now its has been over 7 years and Art Is In Market opened our third location at the Mall at Partridge Creek in November 2012. I attribute the success of the store to the hand selected artists who have a passion for their art, and sharing Michigan Made Art with everyone.

Debbie La Pratt is on the left in yellow in this photo taken at Customer Appreciation Night
from the Art Is In Market Facebook Page.
So, just a few more weeks and that's where I'll be -- Art Is In Market -- starting a new chapter in my art, my business, and my life.  If you're out at Laurel Park Place, stop in and check out the store. It is a fun and interesting place, whether you're shopping or just looking.  If it's on a day I'm working, be sure to say "hi".

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Good Times at the Berkley Art Bash

Looking down the street just outside the Gossamer Tangles Booth

Tony and I had a blast at the 12th Annual Berkley Art Bash in Berkley, Michigan yesterday.  What a great venue! I think my favorite thing about it was watching all  the dogs.  So many people brought their canine companions . . . and what an amazing variety of dogs -- everything from tiny, pocketbook-size pooches to huge, hairy sheep dogs.

First, I thought I'd share a couple of final pre-Bash photos.  These were the last few items I made in the days just before the art fair.

I don't do many outdoor shows.  In fact, this was my first in two years.  The only other one I'd done was the Allen Park Street Fair in the summer of 2011.  So, I'm not really used to the whole setting up the tent thing, or essentially hauling an entire little retail store's worth of display props with me.  Luckily, I have a very understanding husband who carried everything up from the basement, transported it to the site, and helped set up. Many, many thanks, Dan! I know getting up at 5:15 am on a Saturday morning is not your idea of fun.

Here you can see my Gossamer Tangle's display set up, as well as Tony's book area in the tent.

Incorporated the new bird cage displays I made.

These folding door and lattice display panels were created by my daughter, Betsy, before my first outdoor show in 2011.

These shelves, that are usually used for storage in my basement, came in handy for creating a wall/barrier with the neighboring tent display.

Tony's display for his Viper Girl book series and his middle grade novel, Cootie the Not-So-Oddly-Named Girl Makes the Ultimate Pizza, were right at the tent entrance. One boy and his mom bought the entire set of Tony's books and had him sign them all!

There were also two very yummy highlights to the day.  Number one was buying lunch from Dago Joe's food truck.  I had a fantastic, 8-layer, veggie panini (the spicy guacamole was the best part!) and Tony had gnocchi with their fabulous "Lush Sauce".

Number two was buying the all-important afternoon snack from Holy Cannoli's.  Owned and operated by a Sicilian family, they were hand-filling fresh cannoli's, as well as selling other treats, like the chocolate chip cookies that Tony enjoyed.

And even though the day started out overcast and quite cold, by mid-afternoon, the sun was out and the sky was blue.  A good day all around!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Getting Ready for the Berkley Art Bash: A Garland of Crocheted Poppies and Other Goodies

The Berkley Art Bash is this coming Saturday, June 8, 2013!  That's why this post is late again -- busy working on new pieces.  I am really excited about doing this show.  Not only will my son, Tony, be sharing space with me to showcase his children's books (sure to make the day more fun!), but I have just heard wonderful things about this show.  A section of Twelve Mile Road, right in downtown Berkley, is shut down and becomes the site for this late spring art celebration.  There will be music, food, and lots of great art!

So, today I thought I would share a few things that I completed this week to take to the Art Bash.  The titles that I've given these pieces are not final or formal, they are just what came into my head as I worked on them.  I guess you would call them "working titles".

First, there is my Pocketful of Poppies Necklace.  It features a contemporary version of bright summer poppies, crocheted along a green garland embellished with glass leaf beads.

The second design I finished this week is a pair of crocheted, beaded earrings that I call Blue Fairy Cornucopia Earrings.

Finally, I made another kiss clasp bag.  Unlike others I've made, the entire body of the pursed on this one is crocheted.  It is crocheted from the frame down and is even attached to the frame by crochet.  There was really no way to line it, but the crochet stitches are very dense.  I adapted this design from a free pattern in a crochet newsletter that I receive.

Here's a special bonus -- a little reward for those of you who read to the end of this post:  If you come to the Berkley Art Bash next Saturday, and you decide you would like to purchase something from me, just say the code words: "Blue Fairy" and I will give you 20% off one item of your choice.  I really hope I hear those words next Saturday.